If you are just joining us for this series, welcome! Here’s Part 1!
Want to listen to this post? I’ll happily read it to you!
She thought that being popular would bring contentment. She never felt like she was enough. She believed the success equation was: work 24/7 + more work. She chased bigger and faster and more more more. Her marriage began to crumble. Yet, she believed she couldn’t slow down. If she missed a minute on social media, she might miss something. She didn’t think she was doing anything wrong, just what she had to do to keep up. She chased an elusive standard of perfection and she MISSED HER LIFE.
She was me several years ago. I chased my tail until it all began to crash and burn.
I wrote my story in just a few words in my 2018 PowerSheets, right there in the middle…
If you have been feeling restless lately, wanting things to change, but believing that change is impossible, I know this for sure: change is possible. There is a way to move forward. Going from constantly chasing something I would never catch to living in grace didn’t happen overnight for me, but it did happen.
It happened little by little, step by intentional step.
And the little-by-little and big leaps of faith along the way were worth it!
Hi, friends! Welcome back to Part 2 of 2018 Goal Setting. If you are new, I’m so glad you landed here. Hop on over to read Part 1 here to get started.
Let’s dig in!
I wrote the handwriting piece above (which has since been shared on the interwebs tens of millions of times—so crazy) not about skydiving, traveling to a foreign country, or anything you might typically see on a bucket list. I wrote this late one night in my kitchen, just after putting Grace to sleep when she was a baby, about wanting to finally read the Bible from start to finish. It felt like a daunting task, but I wanted to grow my faith. I was determined. This really mattered to me.
And when something really matters to you in the big picture, how you do it doesn’t matter as much as why you do it.
My why drove me forward, especially during the many times I fell behind or wanted to jump ship (have you ever felt that way?). Little by little, over the course of a year and a half, I did end up reading the Bible—and it changed everything. The little-by-little added up!
This is how we celebrate little-by-little progress in our garden. When we see a new seed sprouting or for any occasion whatsoever, we throw petals in the air and say, “Celebration!!!”
Maybe you want to cultivate a stronger marriage, find confidence in your career path, or grow in community with others. Maybe you want to learn to use your finances well, live with less, or finally do that thing that’s been on your list forever. Whatever it is, let’s talk about it!
Let’s plant the first seed right here together!
STEP FOUR: As we start this journey together, what’s one thing you want to cultivate in the year ahead? No perfect or polished answers needed here! This is just to get you thinking as we start uncovering the good stuff. What’s the first thing that comes to mind? Write it down, and I encourage you to share your thoughts in the comments for accountability and to encourage others too. I’m going to leave my answer in the comments alongside you!
What I want to cultivate came to light when I did this page above in my PowerSheets: I want to cultivate space for new things to grow. More in the comments! 🙂
STEP FIVE: We talked about the good things from the year in Part 1. Now, let’s look at the hard things. What were the challenges you experienced in 2017? What areas of your life need to be tended, watered, or soaked in sunshine? Don’t just write or say, “Everything.” Get specific and list your greatest challenges—the places that feel overgrown with impossible weeds right now.
A few of my 2017 challenges:
And, yes, I grew too much in the garden this year! I thought I’d have time for it all, but the summer ended up being a busy one with releasing a book. Thankfully, gardens are forgiving and it was still magical despite a few overgrown things.
As you think back to the challenges of this year, love your future self well! Don’t let negative thoughts or memories hold you back from breaking through and making your challenges list.
If you are a believer like me, ask God to help you surrender the hard things, learn from them, and move forward in His timing. ‘I do not consider myself yet to have laid hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly calling in Christ Jesus’ Philippians 313-14.
Write the facts and know that each thing you write down is an area of your life that could be made completely new.
Once you have your list of the challenges from 2017, name some of the lessons you learned from those challenges. Here are some my lessons from 2017 (Forgive my chicken scratch—I wrote this for myself, not thinking about sharing it and these are my honest messy thoughts!):
A note of encouragement: Perhaps you are still in the thick of a challenge right now and have no idea yet what it’s supposed to teach you. That’s okay! Wherever you are, let’s share the challenges and encourage each other.
STEP SIX: Who helped you cultivate what matters in 2017? Looking back at your list of good things from Part 1, and all that you’ve written so far in this series, who helped you to live on purpose this year? Who encouraged you or helped you grow? Download a free printable worksheet here and write the names of those you are grateful for and why. And then… do something about it! Thank them for the specific things they helped you with or inspired in you.
You may think they don’t need encouragement, or it won’t matter, but words have power.
Gift your people with those words!
You never know what good it might spark.
You can keep this simple and still make a huge impact: a text or an email can go a long way to change someone’s day—and change their life. I spent the morning sending emails to friends and colleagues who have meant a lot to me this year. Fly little emails, fly!
My dear friends and sisters from church, on the day that Cultivate launched, who have been huge blessings to me this year! I love you, Kristy and Ruth!
I am grateful to many. A few highlights from my PowerSheets:
There are so many more! Our church family, Walter our sweet cow-farmer mail carrier, my editor at Thomas Nelson who prayed me through finishing Cultivate, our neighbors, Heidi and Kayla at the Carolina Inn, my Faith Retreat sisters, our fellow carpool mamas, Lara from Everyday Graces and my friend Sunee for generously preparing me for the adventure of homeschool (I love you both so much!), all of the people I listed here, and if you’ve sent me an encouraging email this year, prayed, chatted with me here on the blog, or given me a hug—thank you. Your encouragement has genuinely made a difference!
Who are you grateful for this year?
Leave your answers in the comments, but most of all, send some love to the people on your list!
I am especially grateful for this guy! His prayerful support and love have grown my faith this year.
OPTIONAL* BONUS STEP: Get visual! Make a Pinterest board of images that will inspire a purposeful year. What do you want to grow? Leave a link to your board in the comments so we can follow each other’s boards.
Now, one word of caution. I rarely use Pinterest (like twice a year) because it can be the black hole of distraction and discontent. The goal isn’t to have a Pinterest-worthy year or life, so pick images that point you to what matters. To help you do this, we’re having a Pinterest Contest with an amazing prize: a seat to the Making Things Happen Conference! Get started here.
Here’s my board from last 2013 and from 2014, 2015, and 2016, 2017, and here’s where I’m pinning for 2018. *If Pinterest distracts you, skip this step! Do whatever will keep you focused on your best year yet.
Your turn! Today’s Goal Uncovering Steps:
1. What’s the one thing you most want to cultivate in 2018?
2. What challenges did you experience in 2017? What lessons did you learn?
3. Who helped you cultivate what matters in 2017?
4. And our optional bonus step: get visual and make your 2018 vision board!
Okay, I’ll be back on Monday for Part 3! Monday’s post includes a powerful step that will help you simplify your year ahead, and I can’t wait.
Till then, Merry Christmas, my friends! My parents are coming tonight and I’m excited for some family time and having my mama in our kitchen.
Read some of my mom’s food columns here. 🙂
Need some extra motivation to dig in? Comment with your answers from each step as we go through this series to be entered to win the prizes below. I can’t wait to read your answers, and share mine with you too!
One person who comments with answers to every step in this series will win a bonus prize: one of everything from the Cultivate Shop! Yes!!! This includes 2018 PowerSheets, the Cultivate What Matters sticker book, books, journals, art prints and so much more!
A big thank you to everyone who entered! What a joy it was to hear your responses and get to chat with you in the comments! Congratulations to our winners below! If you’re a winner, fill out this form to collect your prize!
1. 10 sets of 2018 PowerSheets! — Gail boos, Sara Baker, Carrie Condra, Beth Kuligowski, Melissa Kelly, Cierra LaShay, Kara Wallitsch Tydlacka, Charis K, Staci Good Bedenbaugh, and Cara Gordon
2. A Fitbit Flex — Lexie Hart
3. A gift card for a massage — Chris Koiro
4. The 2018 Floret wall calendar — Jen Harris
5. A 2018 Yearly prayer journal from Val Marie Paper — Heather Chollar
6. Keepsake Kitchen Diary from Lily and Val — Zulema Uscanga
7. Farmgirl Flowers bouquet — Bianca Norman
8. Our popular PowerSheets Companion Bundle — Jennifer Harper
9. 1-year membership to Thrive Market — Vanessa Wright
10. 2018 Simplified Planner — Sarah Gonzales
11. ARE YOU READY FOR THIS?! A free house cleaning! — Kara Earhart
12. 5 signed copies of Cultivate — Madelyn Smith, Emily Soroka, Julie Davis, Cortney P, and Shannon Hunsley
13. A seat at Financial Peace University — Kady Curtis
14. 5 signed copies Make It Happen — Keatyn Bergsten, Emily Montgomery, Jenna King, Ann Kuhns, and Kaitlyn Payne
15. Write the Word All Seasons Collection — Hannah Tate
16. A Meyer lemon tree – a family favorite around here! — Lindsey Abrego
17. A 6-month membership to Skillshare — Jessica Gilson
18. A LegacyBox! (Amazing!) — Kerry Batty
19. One of everything from the Cultivate Shop! — Sarah Kemer
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway ends January 30th. Winners will be announced on January 31st here on the blog. Hard goods are for US entrants only. If you don’t claim your prize within 48 hours, another winner will be selected, so mark your planners and stay posted! : ) Also, this post contains some Amazon affiliates links. No extra cost to you and all proceeds are donated!
Read Part Three of my 2018 Goal-Setting Series!